Writing–April Projects

Fly in the rain

I’m fabulous, except when I’m not.

I tend to underestimate my ability to not get stuff done and that’s kind of what happened in March. While I did get the short stories written, revised, polished, and posted, and made progress on both Sooper Sekrit Projects (which will continue this month), other things didn’t happen. This month, they need to happen.

First on the list is Night of the Nothing Man. I will get it up on Smashwords before the end of the month come Hell or high water. It’s taken more revising than I anticipated, but I’m closer to finished now. It will get done.

And once it does, I can go right back to starting the next round of revisions on The World (Saving) Series. I was supposed to start them before the end of the month last month. That didn’t happen. I’ll get Nothing Man out of the way and I’ll get back to work on that.

I’ve also got an idea for another short story anthology. That definitely won’t get done this month, but I’ve already been looking at story ideas. I think a couple of first drafts of some new stories might get written during my early mornings.

Sometimes, it feels like I’m not getting anything worthwhile done. I know that I am, but sometimes, it really doesn’t feel like it. Without that immediate gratification of feedback or a paycheck or the feeling of being DONE, it’s easy to feel like you’re just spinning your wheels when you’re really traveling miles.

Such is a writer’s life.

Writing–Scripting It

Scripted

I remember my mother once telling me that I should skip writing short stories and novels and just write scripts because I like writing dialogue so much. She had a point. My stories have a tendency to be dialogue heavy and description can be a struggle for me. I’ve written a few stories without dialogue and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. If I can have a character talk to themselves, I will.

Sooper Sekrit Project #2 is a script. I think I mentioned that. Anyway, a few years ago now I participated in Script Frenzy, a now defunct off-shoot of NaNoWriMo. I wrote two 60 minute episodes of a TV show that I made up. I had great fun doing it. It held its own challenges, sure (format? Thank goodness for script programs!), but I got to exploit what I consider to be one of my strengths.

Sometimes I get ideas for stories and it’s during the hashing out phase that I realize it would make a lousy short story or novel, but it would make a great script. I then shelve it because, hey, I don’t write scripts.

And then last month it occurred to me how dumb that was. Why shouldn’t I write scripts? Just because I don’t live in Hollywood and really have no ambition to be a film/TV writer, that doesn’t mean there’s no reason for me to flex some different muscles. Let me be vain for a moment. What if one day one of my stories and/or novels is published and then optioned for film? Wouldn’t it benefit me to say, “Oh, yeah, I can adapt that. No problem. Let me do that for you.”? I think it would.

I’ve already got plans to practice my adaptation skills with Night of the Nothing Man once I get it up on Smashwords.

The reason why this a Super Sekrit project is because it’s a play thing that I have no intention of doing anything with seriously so I have no real urge to discuss it much in-depth. It’s a fun play thing that’s only for me. And so I’ll admit to doing it, but I won’t say what the script is about.

Just know that this project, even if I do nothing with it, isn’t a waste. It’s me developing and honing a different kind of writing style.

You never know. I might have to go to Hollywood one day.

Writing–March Projects

English: A White Clover (Trifolium repens). Fr...

Something old, something new…I’m in the mood to pile a whole bunch of stuff on my plate right now and since I’m feeling so eager and willing, I’m going to go with it.

In the old category, revisions continue on The World (Saving) Series. I’m done with this round of serious business revisions, but I’m going to start from the top in a couple of weeks and go through it again. I’m getting pretty happy with the way everything is working out and I don’t think I want to do any more major changes to the story. Thank goodness.

Also in the old category, revisions on Night of the Nothing Man. I’m tightening things up and getting picky with the sentences. The goal is to have it up on Smashwords before the end of the month, which I’m pretty sure is going to happen without much trouble.

In the kind of old, but kind of new category falls a couple of short stories. They’re Outskirts stories that I’ve already written and intended to get up on the blog a while ago, but never got around to revising to completion. That’s going to happen.

In the totally new category, I’ve got an idea for another short story that I’d like to write and put up in the freebie section. Free reads are good reads.

And finally, in the classified files, work on the sooper sekrit project continues and I’ve added sooper sekrit project #2. In my continued effort to broaden my abilities, I’ve started work on a script. I’ve only completed one before and actually had quite a lot of fun doing it. I’ve got an idea (don’t ask) and I’m going to run with it and get some practice in.

Getting some of these things done is not an option. I’m running out of room on my plate to add anything else.

Writing–February Projects

English: rose bunch, Rosa sp. cultivars, flowe...

The revisions on The World (Saving) Series continues. I’m making progress and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how some chapters are in better shape than others and how many of them are in better shape than I remember. My goal to be able to call this manuscript done by the end of the year is looking promising.

Work on the sooper sekrit project also continues. It’s being upgraded from the morning project that kills time while I’m minding the kid two or three days a week (because I’m off that job for the month while the kid spends the month with his mom while grandma is vacationing in Florida) and I expect to make some significant progress on it by working on it more than a couple of days a week. I’d like to have the barest bones of the whole business done by the end of the month so I can definitely see what I’ve got going for me.

The big project this month, though, will be revising Night of the Nothing Man from a novel to a novella. Considering the strains I made fleshing it out to make sure I hit 50,000 words, cutting won’t be much of a problem. Really getting that story to be what I want it to be might take a little more work, but I’m still hoping to get it done by the end of the month. I’d like to be able to put it out on Smashwords by March.

The month is just a few days shorter, but I’m going to try to pack them as full as I can. I’ve got a lot going on and I’ve got a feeling I’m just going to be adding more to my plate. At the very least, there’s going to be a lot of idea jotting. I’ve been getting hitting hard with that lately, but I’m having trouble penciling all of them in, so they have to wait.

When it rains, it pours, and I’ve been caught in an idea deluge.

I hope my umbrella holds.

Writing–2013 Writing Goals

Writing

Last year I gave myself the goal of getting 50 rejections and ended up falling miserably short. However, I did learn quite a bit when it comes to goal setting my writing like that. First of all, I need to be more realistic. Second of all, not every goal is going to work for me.

The idea of getting 50 rejections seemed like a good one at the time because it would motivate me to submit more of my short stories. The problem with this approach is that I really don’t have the short story inventory to generate that many rejections, particularly when the rejection process is on a completely different time table. I have no control over when I get the rejections. They can take days or months. Combine that with a limited inventory and I found out that I tore my ACL before I even made it out onto the track.

However, had I not given it a go, I wouldn’t have learned that. I’m a sucker for learning things the hard way.

This year, I’m going to take a different approach to my writing goals.

My biggest goal is going to be revising The World (Saving) Series to a point of doneness. Not THE point of doneness, but A point of doneness. That means that I want to get the novel to a point that I’m done messing with the story and the structure and all I’m worried about is consistency, word choice, and descriptions. I want to be satisfied with the big picture of the story, so to speak. Giving myself until the end of the year seems reasonable, I think.

I’ve got seven short stories waiting on my ready list. I want to submit them all at least once. I’ve got three stories still out from last year. If they all get rejected, then I want to submit them all at least once, too. Any new short stories I write, I want to send those out at least once as well. Not exactly a lofty goal, for sure, but sometimes I feel very divided with my writing. This is a way to motivate some progress without being too hard on myself and getting discouraged. It also encourages me to give all of my stories a chance on the market instead of holding them back, afraid to let them be seen by the world.

I haven’t abandoned my idea to edit Night of the Nothing Man into a novella and self-publish it. That will get done sometime this year.

My current sooper-sekrit project is under way. Even though I don’t want  to talk about it, I’m working on it. And even if I don’t like the way it’s going or think it’s a flop, I’m still going to finish it. I need to develop a little faith in myself when it comes to working on non-fiction projects (that’s the only hint you’re going to get!).

I think these goals are good enough to keep me busy for the year. We’ll see how it shakes out.

If you’re taking bets on if I’ll be scrambling to submit stories in December, it’s probably a pretty safe bet to take. I know me.

Writing–NaNo Completed

calendar -  November 2012

What? Already?

Of course. That’s my goal every year. I always aim to finish before Thanksgiving and this year I finished nearly a week before the turkey deadline.  I did fall short of some other goals, though.

I aim for 60,000 words. That didn’t happen this year. I ran out of story right around the 50,000 word mark, which is great for winning NaNo, but not so hot with my own personal pride. I could have added an additional ten thousand words on a related story that would reveal what really happened to the missing girl that sort of threads the story together, but in the end I decided to just stick with the novel itself and let my ego take that lump.

I also put an interesting restriction on myself. Since the story is set in the 70′, I challenged myself to not use any language that would have been censored on 70’s era television. It was a silly little challenge designed to make me think a little bit more on my dialogue and encourage myself to be a little more creative rather than relying on the easy out of swear words for insults and exclamations. I mostly did it. Mostly.  I fully admit to writing while tired and not caring about this self-imposed little demand.

On the other hand, I really pushed myself on the word count, writing 4,000 words a day four days a week instead of just on the weekend like usual and then sticking to 2,000 words on the three days of the week that I worked more than one job. It’s nice to know that I can maintain that level of demand if I really put my mind to it.

Overall, I’m rather pleased with the way the novel worked out. Not getting too far ahead on my outlining wasn’t a big deal and I think actually helped me be a little more creative with my story since I wasn’t concerned about getting too far off track. On the other hand, I think I could have benefited with a general story line set out before hand instead of going in as cold as I did. I admit, I didn’t have an ending when I started and that usually doesn’t bode well for me. This time it worked out.

As of right now, I rather like Night of the Nothing Man. It’s a pretty simple, straight-forward horror story. I’m thinking that it could be edited and revised down into a nice novella and I think I’m going to try for that.

All in all, I’m going to say this was a pretty successful NaNoWriMo. I certainly didn’t think it would turn out this well.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Writing–The Story Went “Boo!”

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (TV special)

It’s not unusual for me to fall asleep thinking about a story I’m working on, particularly if it’s a big project like a novel. Many a night I drift off thinking about what happens next or what scenes need to be revised or what plot problems need to be fixed.

Most of my short stories are firmly in the horror genre. To date, I’ve only written one straight horror novel manuscript prior to this year’s NaNo project and in the end, I revised it to fit more in the vein of my other novels (a mix of horror, comedy, supernatural/fantasy). Every night during that November that I worked on that first draft, I fell asleep thinking about it. Mostly I thought about how boring it was. Writing it as straight horror wasn’t working out so well for me. But I plowed through it and called it done knowing I could fix it later.

Of all the nights that I fell asleep thinking about my scary stories, never once did anything I came up with keep me awake.

Until last week.

I tend to have trouble falling asleep and sleeping in general on Sunday nights. I don’t know if it’s the anticipation of the 6:30 Monday morning wake-up call or what. Last Sunday, as is typical for my November nights, I got into bed and attempted to drift off while thinking about my NaNo project. I was trying to figure out how to get my two MCs out of the cabin in the woods and back to their car with the bad guy looking in the window.

My brain tumbled this prospect around as I fell asleep, leading me down a promising path until sleep snuck in and the path suddenly turned and I jerked to consciousness though I wasn’t quite asleep, scared out of my wits.

I’ve never had one of my own stories do that to me. Never. I never think what I write is very scary. I rely on other people to tell me that the notes I attempted to hit and thought I hit were the right ones. But my own story jerking me out of a near sleep like that is new.

It makes me think I might be on to something here.

It also wrecked my Sunday sleep, yet again.

Let’s hope it was worth it.

Writing–November Projects

Fall leaves in Vancouver

It’s NaNoWriMo time!

This year’s project is called Night of the Nothing Man. In addition to the challenges raised by not coming up with this novel idea until a week before the start, I’ve given myself some other guidelines that I’m going to try to follow as I write. I’ll reveal those at the end of the month.

If you recall, I wrote a novel manuscript this summer in a different fashion. I outlined a few chapters, wrote those chapters, and then revised those chapters before moving on. I’m going to be doing something similar with this NaNo project. I managed to get about six chapters outlined before the NaNo countdown clock wound down. This was partly by design. I do better during NaNo when I outline, but in the course of my writing, I end up changing or deviating from my outline that typically results in some frustrating revisions and rewrites. I liked the outlining and then writing of the summer novel experiment in that I stayed on track, but I could make changes. So I’m going to attempt to do NaNo in this fashion.

Dangerous business for me, but I like living on the edge.

Also during the month I’ll keep working on my Lucy and Jamie story. I’ve got a good idea where it’s going and I think it might be good for me to write a page or two of something else while working on NaNo. Kind of like a morning warm-up.

I may or may not start poking at The World (Saving) Series again. I’ve got an idea of some revisions I’d like to do and I’ve been kicking them around for the past couple of months. They wouldn’t be too taxing to do when I need an evening break from NaNo, but don’t want to be unproductive.

It should be a good month full of words.